Central nervous system serotonin function and cardiovascular responses to stress.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of indices of central nervous system (CNS) serotonin function on cardiovascular reactivity to mental stress. METHODS: Lumbar puncture was performed on 54 healthy volunteers to obtain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for determination of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA) levels. Genotypes were determined with respect to a functional polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene promoter region (5HTTLPR). Subjects then underwent mental stress testing. RESULTS: Persons with one or two long (l) 5HTTLPR alleles had CSF levels of the major serotonin metabolite, 5HIAA, that were 50% higher than those of persons with the s/s 5HTTLPR genotype. Persons with one or two l alleles or higher CSF 5HIAA levels also exhibited greater blood pressure and heart rate responses to a mental stress protocol. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest the 5HTTLPR polymorphism affects CNS serotonin function, and they are consistent with the general hypothesis that CNS serotonin function is involved in the regulation of potentially health-damaging biobehavioral characteristics. In particular, the l allele could contribute, through its association with increased cardiovascular reactivity to stress, to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Williams, RB; Marchuk, DA; Gadde, KM; Barefoot, JC; Grichnik, K; Helms, MJ; Kuhn, CM; Lewis, JG; Schanberg, SM; Stafford-Smith, M; Suarez, EC; Clary, GL; Svenson, IK; Siegler, IC
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